The Irishman will lead the Lions on their tour of 11-match tour of New Zealand, which will incorporate three Tests, and insists he will not let the captaincy affect his game in any way.
O'Driscoll told the Daily Mirror: "Johnno was a natural-born leader, being captain didn't make him that.
"It was just a tag he was given. Of course he is a hard act to follow - he is one of the all-time greats. But it would be wrong to try and copy him. I have to do it my own way.
"The respect Johnno commanded from his peers was massive and his physical toughness on the pitch and refusal to take a backwards step marked him down as a great player.
"I don't think the captaincy changed his game in any way, shape or form. And I don't plan for it to change mine.
"I'll let it happen naturally, just go with whatever fells natural to me at the time."